Beyond the Ten Steps: Critical Connections for Transformative Change
The Breastfeeding Committee for Canada presents a three-day interactive symposium with experiential learning opportunities to investigate the critical connections necessary for transformative change in breastfeeding promotion, policy, and research.
This symposium will introduce participants to the Baby-Friendly Initiative from a health equity lens and social justice approach.
The Baby-Friendly Initiative is recognized as a quality improvement initiative for maternity and community services to promote, protect, and support breastfeeding.
The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding provide a guide for health facilities around the world to provide optimal care to families and their infants and to improve breastfeeding rates.
Although the Baby-Friendly Initiative was established by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF 25 years ago, the coverage in Canada and globally remains low: there are currently 22 hospitals and 116 community health centers in Canada that have been designated as Baby-Friendly (2018).
The recent WHO 2018 Implementation guidance: protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding in facilities providing maternity and newborn services – the revised Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative, calls for action to scale up universal coverage and ensure sustainability over time.
In particular, it focuses on integrating the Baby-Friendly Initiative more fully into the health-care system and within a broader context of support for breastfeeding families and communities.
Health Equity and Social Justice Lens
It is well known that families and communities in Canada can experience significant disparities in breastfeeding rates and access to support.
Constraints are caused by unmet social determinants of health and a range of injustices including gender inequality, racism, poverty and violence.
Provinces and territories will have the opportunity to learn how to move beyond the organizational practices and to implement it in a way that acknowledges the context and environment in which families live and health facilities operate.
Building connections across these complex systems is vital to learn about innovative practices necessary to close the gap in maternal-child health, in particular those gaps identified in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action.